Chapter 44 - Breakdowns
Over the next three days, China’s top 10 grade 3 village ranking filled up. A new round of the contest officially kicked off.
Chun Shenjun and Xiongba’s alliance created a storm that was still brewing. Just yesterday afternoon, the Tyrants of Handan had officially split into two factions. The first was composed of Di Chen, Zhan Lang, Feng Qiuhuang, and Sha Pojun, forming a new Handan Alliance, which was promptly dubbed the Handan Four Xia...which was a homophone for Shrimps. Di Chen’s prestige suffered a major blow, and Ouyang Shuo who had done nothing was blamed and hated by Di Chen.
Chun Shenjun had successfully brought over Feng Qingyang, in addition to allying with Xiongba and Wandering Magic. Together they had formed the Chunqiu Alliance. Chun Shenjun successfully won the top spot in their alliance, with Xiongba and Wandering Magic also now getting access to compete at the top level in the game. It was the best of both worlds for them.
As for Feng Qingyang going into the Alliance, Ouyang Shuo wasn’t surprised. As the descendents of a martial arts family, Feng Qingyang had the least amount of shared interests with the other five Handan Tyrants, so breaking off from them was relatively easier.
But Sha Pojun staying in the former alliance did surprise him. As the representative of underworld forces, Sha Pojun naturally did not get along well with the other tyrants who were political families and ancient clans. The only reason that could explain his decision to stand along Di Chen was probably because he and Chun Shenjun had ran a deep rivalry that could never be resolved.
Xiongba was really wily, successfully pulling a knife on the Six Tyrants, and provoking Di Chen and Chun Shenjun into a confrontation. In one fell swoop, he broke their alliance. Everything that he did before was just for show.
What was even more alarming was that Ouyang Shuo knew that in his past life, Wandering Magic and Xiongba were allies. This time, Xiongba bringing Wandering Magic into the Chunqiu Alliance could be truly intriguing. It looked like Xiongba had kept Chun Shenjun in the dark, truly an old fox.
With these moves, China’s domination by the Six Tyrants of Handan had suddenly evolved into the Handan Alliance and the Chunqiu Alliance. Secretly, Shanhai Village and the Consonance Village were also in an alliance, and could faintly be considered the 3rd pole in the challenge for hegemony.
Even though Ouyang Shuo had instigated all of this with his butterfly effect, he hadn’t thought that change would come so fast or so hard. He could only say that ambition was a wonderful thing. With only a slight move, you could really churn up the ground.
Even as the situation was changing outside, Ouyang Shuo remained low-key, obsessed with territorial affairs every day. He did not mind Di Chen’s spite at all. Not wanting to provoke trouble didn’t mean that he was afraid of trouble. With the split of the Six Tyrants of Handan, there was no longer one superpower in China. Inadvertently, Ouyang Shuo had become the biggest winner of the ongoing drama.
Yesterday, the wave of immigrants had finally reverted back to normal. For five consecutive days, Shanhai Village had brought in 255 displaced people, saving 12 days time building his population for the next big upgrade to the level of the township.
Because a large amount of the migrants had come from other players’ territories, the number of skilled migrants was particularly large. Not only did he get members of the basic classes of carpenters, masons, miners and so forth, but also an intermediate shipbuilder and a former official.
The intermediate shipbuilder was called He Miao, a 23-year-old young man that Ouyang Shuo promptly sent off to the intermediate shipyard as Zheng Dahai’s deputy. His shipyard could currently create not only fishing boats that could hold 10 people but also small warships. Unfortunately, Shanhai Village had no sailors or marines, so, for now, he had no use for warships.
The former official’s name was Su Ze. Ouyang Shuo originally wanted to send him to the Material Reserves Division, serving as the Secretary. Yet Mr. Su surprised him by saying he had gone through the ups and downs of political offices and had no intention of being an official again. Given no choice, Ouyang Shuo respected his decision and had arranged for him to work in Lianzhou College instead, serving as a professor. He was glad to accept the work of educating people.
Name: Su Ze (Gold)
Identity: Shanhai Village Lianzhou College ProfessorOccupation:
Civil Servant (Juren)
Features: Education Preacher (Enhances the quality of residents in the territory by 10%)
Evaluation: A poet, with full knowledge of classic poetry and literature. Retired after getting tired of the ups and downs of political office.
With the addition of Mr. Su, coupled with the construction of Lianzhou College, Shanhai’s cultural index flew up to 30 points, satisfying one of the minimum requirements to upgrade to a town.
In fact, with Fan Zhongyan’s name, he could have directly pushed Shanhai’s cultural index to 30 back then. Unfortunately, Fan Zhongyan had administrative duties, and his position of principal of Lianzhou College was part-time. So his ability to enhance the culture of the territory was greatly reduced. But as soon as Mr. Su joined the college as a professor, his ability to enhance local culture was applied to great effect.
Now, of the 4 indices, only the economic index had not yet reached the required standard. With the gradual progress of his privatization efforts, Ouyang Shuo believed that the economic index would soon reach 30 points. This would happen sooner or later.
At 10 AM, Ouyang Shuo was in his office, and Fan Zhongyan, Zhao Dewang, and Zhao Youfang were all there, ready to discuss the purchases and sales of the materials.
As the deputy secretary of the Material Reserves Division, Zhao Youfang spoke first. “During the first 3 months, food, clothing and other materials can only be purchased through the Basic Market. It is the Secretary’s opinion that these primary materials should be bought and sold by the Reserves Division until the territory is self-sufficient, at which time the market should be completely opened.”
Ouyang Shuo nodded. “In that case, not only do we need to build a bakery, butcher shop, and clothing store, we also need warehouses to store goods. In addition, we need the training in place for staff to run those shops once they are in place.”
“The 3 shops will be run directly by the Material Reserves Division. We are ready to recruit the staff for them from the villagers,” Zhao Youfang replied.
“You must be careful about the arrangements for the staff. I do not want the shop staff to collide with people who work in the Department. That will start raising questions about potential theft.”
Once privatized, it would be easy for greed to take root. Ouyang Shuo had to walk a tight line here. Especially in the Material Reserves Division, when the profits were high, it was easy to have corruption.
Zhao Youfang nodded vigorously at the command.
“In addition, the other materials should not be self-sufficient at the moment, except possibly the fish. On this point, how does the Division wish to proceed? Complete purchase and resale?” Ouyang Shuo wasn’t too happy with that idea, considering it too rigid.
Hearing Ouyang Shuo’s words, Youfang was unsettled, thinking that Ouyang Shuo was not satisfied with their work. He didn’t know how to answer.
Fortunately, Fan Zhongyan spoke up about his solution for the problem, smiling and taking over. “At this stage, the amount of fish sold locally is small, it is mainly for export. As I see it, we don’t even need to build any fish market. Simply just set up two to three stalls in the butcher’s shop for fish, and allow the fishermen to rent them. This will make it convenient to sell the fish and facilitate the collection of the booth tax by the Financial Division.”
Ouyang Shuo smiled, relaxing the atmosphere. He turned to Zhao Dewang and asked, “The price of properties, has the Construction Division identified what they should be?”
Yesterday afternoon, the Construction Division and the Financial Division discussed the salary levels and had come up with a pricing formula for the various types of properties. We wanted sire to approve before we release it.”
Hearing Zhao Dewang raising the issue of wages, Ouyang Shuo unconsciously smiled. Right now, for the purposes of price guidance and setting price levels, the Administration Department hadn’t said much and the Financial Division had passed it on.
When Fan Zhongyan had sent on the first drafts of the proposals to the Financial Division, Cui Yingyu had flatly rejected them. The wage level was too high and the price levels were far too low. Fan Zhongyan had been angry enough to choke from the rejection.
The two were at opposite ends. One was always worrying about the people, everything was for their benefit, while the other one was watching the treasury like a hawk, born to spend money wisely.
Finding no compromise, they’d had to trouble Ouyang Shuo. Ouyang Shuo had come down firmly on the side of Yingyu, rejecting the first drafts of the Administration department.
Some of the things Fan Zhongyang wanted to implement in his proposals were simply outrageous. If he had followed the view of the implementation, it wouldn’t have been long before Ouyang Shuo would be eating and drinking air. He could not help but say, the great scholar’s worries about his country must have a limit to them. He practically treated the people like treasure and the ruler like dirt.
This was the first time Ouyang Shuo showed his temper, rescinding the rights of setting living costs and wages from the Administration Department and requiring them to discuss with the Financial Division before calming this storm.
Through this test, Fan Zhongyan himself also realized that Ouyang Shuo was not the kind to just accept whatever was presented him blindly, like a good boy. No matter how talented you were, if you lost your reason you wouldn’t get things accomplished. Shanhai Village, in the end, was Ouyang Shuo’s private territory, not some idealized country. Pure idealism would simply not work.
Seeing Ouyang Shuo’s thoughtful expression, Fan Zhongyan was clearly embarrassed.
Ouyang Shuo knew that he had lost his temper and smiled apologetically. In any case, he still respected the few secretaries. As long as they worked together a few more times and found one another’s bottom lines, they could resume working harmoniously and things would proceed more smoothly.
Ouyang Shuo turned to look at Zhao Dewang. “This is a good idea, very efficient. Announcing the real estate prices earlier would reduce the villagers’ suspicions, and reassure everyone.”
Zhao Dewang smiled agreeably in his honest manner and did not say anything, agreeing with his words. On the other side, Zhao Youfang seemed preoccupied, having not yet recovered from Ouyang Shuo’s earlier criticism.
When the meeting was over, Ouyang Shuo specifically patted Zhao Youfang’s shoulder to show him some encouragement. He could not afford to neglect his people. Although this time things had not met his approval, it could be considered as a learning opportunity.